registered was given a four-month sentence at Derwent magistrates'
court, Derby, on 7 May.
prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under Section
33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in contravention
of the requirements imposed by a Prohibition Notice. The Notice
prohibited Mr Towle from undertaking work in relation to gas fittings
until he was Corgi registered and competent. The notice was issued as
the result of an HSE/CORGI investigation into a dangerous gas fitting
He was charged under Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations
1998, Regulation 3 (3) in that he carried out work in relation to a
gas fitting whilst not a member of CORGI and under regulation 3 (7)
in that he falsely pretended to be CORGI registered.
He was jailed for four months for breaking the prohibition order.
In sentencing, the magistrate stated that, after considering all the
facts, the matter was so serious that a custodial sentence was
justified. Mr Towle had continued to undertake gas work despite the
Prohibition Notice. They stated that Mr Towle should serve no less
than half the four-month sentence and that there were no separate
penalties for the other matters.
HSE Inspector Mark Dawson, who prosecuted the case, said: 'This
sentence reflects the most serious nature of the breaches and should
act as a warning to those gas installers who are not members of CORGI
but who continue to undertake gas work. Prohibition notices are
issued when HSE inspectors consider there to be a risk of serious
personal injury arising from any work activity. The breach of a
prohibition notice is one of the most serious matters in health and
safety law and the penalties that may be imposed reflect this.
'Every year about 30 people die and 200 suffer from carbon monoxide
poisoning as a result of faulty gas fires, central heating boilers,
cookers, and other appliances. There are tight laws to try to prevent
these kinds of incidents, and HSE's job is to make sure these laws
The prosecution is the latest of six in the last few months in Derby
alone, where HSE has been cracking down on gas safety, particularly
amongst the city's private landlords.
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are easily mistaken
for 'flu'. Tell-tale signs include tiredness, drowsiness, headaches,
pains in the chest and stomach, and lethargy. If you suspect that you
or any of your family have been exposed to CO, then seek medical help
immediately. Tell your GP you think these symptoms may be related to
CO exposure; they will be able to tell by means of a blood test.
All gas appliances should be tested annually by a qualified, CORGI
registered gas fitter.
1. By law, every gas fitter has to be CORGI-registered.
2. Over the last 10 years an average of 40 people have died each
year in gas-related incidents in their own homes; many more have
suffered ill-health as a result of CO poisoning. Poorly-installed
or badly-maintained gas appliances and flues caused the majority of
3. If you smell gas, or suspect there is a gas escape, you should
immediately shut off the gas supply and phone the Transco Gas
Emergency Freephone number: 0800 111999
4. Carbon monoxide can be given off by any appliance which burns
fossil fuels such as gas, coal or oil. Excess gas, which is
poisonous, is produced when the fuel does not burn properly. It can
kill or maim without warning in just a matter of hours. Last year,
there were 31 gas-related fatalities, of which 24 resulted from
carbon monoxide poisoning.
5. HSE recently completed a fundamental review of the current gas
safety regime; the 47 recommendations made in the report 'Gas
Safety Review Proposals for Change', including action on publicity
and awareness, have been accepted by the Health and Safety
Commission and ministers. A copy of the report is available from
HSE's Gas Safety webpages .
6. To check if gas installers are registered with CORGI phone:
01256 372300. Free advice can also be obtained by phoning the HSE
Gas Safety Advice Line: 0800 300363.